Sunday, October 16, 2016

Local church will bury 150-year old mummy

St. Mark
African Methodist Episcopal Church
95-18 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights, New York 11372
Phone: 718-899-3306             Fax: 718-899-1636
Rev. Kimberly L. Detherage, Esq., Pastor
After almost five years of testing, investigation and research, the 150-year old mummy, the Iron Coffin Lady, uncovered at a construction site that was once the graveyard on the first site of today’s Saint Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, will be commemorated, memorialized and buried on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, November 5th, 6th and 7th. The officers and members of St. Mark have planned a memorial reception, traditional funeral and burial befitting this historic figure who is a past parishioner of the church.

The memorial reception will commence at 11am Saturday, November 5th and feature exhibits and presentations that interweave the history of African American burial grounds and the church’s history with the possible story of the Iron Coffin Lady’s past life. Donations to offset the costs of the burial, memorial park creation and maintenance are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

Speakers will include archaeologist Scott Warnash, PhD, who was working out of the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office identifying 9/11 remains when he was called to the site in Queens to examine what was thought to be a murder victim’s remains. Warnash, who has made an extensive study of iron coffins and the remains found inside them, will speak on their history as well as the possible identification of the Iron Coffin lady through her DNA and artifacts.

Sandra Arnold of the Periwinkle Project, named for the flower found in many ancient African American burial grounds and operating out of Brown University, is an ongoing documenter of African American graveyards will address the commonalities and peculiarities of these graveyards as well as the database she is compiling of these sites.

Professor Gerald Conlogue, PhD, of Quinnipiac University, who has extensively studied and scanned the mummified remains, will relate his findings on the Iron Coffin Lady. There will also be a report of research findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The traditional funeral will be on Sunday, November 6th at 4pm at St. Mark AME Church on Northern Boulevard and 96th Street in Queens. The Iron Coffin Lady will be eulogized by St. Mark’s Pastor Kimberly L. Detherage, Esquire, and the service will feature tributes from the church family as well as officials of the AME Church. The funeral follows the church’s morning worship service.

The Iron Coffin Lady will be buried at Flushing Cemetery in Flushing, Queens from St Mark Church. The procession will leave St. Mark on Monday, November 7th at 9:30 am, and the Iron Coffin Lady will be re-interred and her body finally laid to rest.

They uncovered a slave grave site in Manhattan and it became a national park.
They uncovered one in Queens and it became condos.
Welcome to the World's Borough!


JQ LLC said...

this might be a stretch...

Abbott and Costello were more respectful to mummies too.

Wanna bet if these tombs were in Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights they would have preserved it. Actually, recent history shows definitely not.

Anonymous said...

I'm Confused,
Wasn't this a white woman likely very rich to afford a iron coffin and such good embalming.
If so why would she be in a slave or African burial ground ? So far this article makes no sense. Iron coffin's were very rare in those days only millionaires(by todays standards)could afford or even have access to them.

authorericarstinson said...

This is my church that I have been a member of my entire life. This is going to be a big deal so hopefully people will come and witness this fascinating event. I believe they're having something the day before with the coroner who is handling the burial and will be there with slides and information about what they found with this woman when they unearthed her. You can call the Church at 718–899–3306 for more info about that . Thanks!

Anonymous said...

A complete disgrace. Condominiums over a slave cemetery. Makes me wonder if all the bodies were recovered. Leave it to Asian developers to build on top on graves.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Queens is for overdevelopment....not for the preservation of history.
Our elected officials' campaigns are paid for by developers' contributions.
And the Queens Historical Society, for which I served two terms on its board, will not raise a peep....OR ELSE lose borough hall's support.
Rememember, it is Queens borough hall which supports, and is the epicenter for overdevelopment.
Donald Manes was its king. Now Melinda Katz, who's city council political campaigns were paid for by developers, reigns.
The whole history of borough hall stinks with corruption going back to the beginning of the 20th century.
To repeat myself, ad nauseum, Manes's credo, "Queens has nothing but land (to offer) and I intend to develop it".
There you have it, in a nutshell.
Do you think that things will change?
Only if you dump your crooked incumbent career politicians.
Make sure that you replace this shady pond scum with relatively honest politicians, if any exist.

Anonymous said...

Ghosts come to haunt Asian residents living in these condos,,,BLACK AFRICAN AMERICAN GHOSTS!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Erica !

Anonymous said...

Some people say that the lady that runs the church was a sell out. You form your own conclusions there.

Yes, this was a cemetery for black church that represents a community that dates back to colonial times - and perhaps was a station on the underground railroad. There was a proud tradition of freemen that was in East Elmhurst for 100s of years.

No lesser man than Booker T Washington came to the community and preached from the pulpit in the community when these memories were still alive.

The mother church itself, on Corona Ave. may have been torn down within the past few years.

The Burroughs Family Cemetery, on nearby Alstine and Corona Aves, also was built upon in the past decade or so. They also had African-Americans in their household being large landowners.

They held important positions within the community, including Town Clerk who wrote the all but forgotten Newtown Remonstrance that decried the temporary suspension of rights granted by previous administrations.

Jeremiah Boroughs, the author, was chained to a cart and forced to do hard labor with with his own slaves. The public outcry prompted the Hempstead Convention which gave us the NY Charter of Liberties. Members of his family, ministers of the first rank, were responsible for the creation of the Reformed faith in England before they migrated to Queens, and participated in the legendary Westminster Convention in London during the time of Cromwell.

But this is obviously over the head of the people that are in a position to, but certainly will not do, the right thing by standing up for their people - and everyone's - community.

Queens is noted for bogus civics and community groups propped up by paper tigers funded by the man who is sustained by those whose hands are on the bulldozers.

Just think of what could have been done with the DNA. There was more here than in the African Burial Ground in Manhattan which held bones but little in myth and living tradition.

Damn shame.

Anonymous said...

Why we do have Martins graveyard, like the Bowne house, we can talk about over and over and over again. That must count for something, eh?

authorericarstinson said...

Just answering the questions about why this lady was here. This is the buzz that has been going around in my church and in my neighborhood. Apparently this black woman( who was a member of Saint Mark AME church at the time) might have been a worker for an iron coffin foundry that was in the direct vicinity of the old St. Mark AME church. She may have also been housekeeper to the white man who owned a home and the foundry near the church which is why she got such good treatment. She was also buried in that iron coffin because she was thought to have had small pox and they wanted to keep it from spreading . If you guys really want to know, seriously come to the church on November 5 and all of these people will be there answering questions showing demonstrations and slides and things pertaining to this event. This happens on that Saturday the 5th at 11 AM and funeral is the next day on the 6th and I believe it's at 4 PM. The casket will not be open, as I know a lot of people will carry us but if you come on Saturday maybe you'll see the slides that display how she was found. so spread the word because were trying to get a lot of attention on this as it's basically unheard of. Also the other bones and remains they found they are also being buried in a separate casket.

Anonymous said...

But the mummy will still be able to vote

Unknown said...

The black woman in the iron coffin was dug up (excaveted) from a black cemetary originally owned by St Mark AME Church at the time of her burial, is not a white lady. The cemetary was disregarded, disrespected and built over by the subsequent private owners. The ST Mark Church could not take the cemtary with it to it's new location in East Elmhurst, NY. The property was sold to private owners. All black people were not broke and enslaved during that period of time. In fact, slavery in NY was long gone by then. Maybe she was the pastor's daughter or even his wife. Who knows? She deserved to be respected and put away nicely. How she ended up in an iron coffin is irrelevant because we will never know the details. Thank God her body was not bull dozed over like the rest of the people in the original Saint Mark AME Church Cemetary. God has his own way of bringing attention to certain people and things.Thanks to our beloved Pastor Kimberly L. Detherage,Esq, the ST Marke AME congregation and others the iron casket lady will again get a proper burial and everything else associated with her discovery and final resting place. To God Be The Glory for He Has Done Marvelous Things!!! Amen